A1 Journal article (refereed)
Applying transdisciplinary sustainability transitions research in international social work doctoral training (2022)

Matthies, A.-L., Hermans, K., & Leskošek, V. (2022). Applying transdisciplinary sustainability transitions research in international social work doctoral training. Social Work Education, 41(7), 1541-1559. https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2022.2105316

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsMatthies, Aila-Leena; Hermans, Koen; Leskošek, Vesna

Journal or seriesSocial Work Education



Publication year2022

Publication date28/07/2022


Issue number7

Pages range1541-1559

PublisherTaylor & Francis

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/82969


In the last 15 years, transdisciplinary research of sustainability transitions has become an increasingly powerful approach. We discuss it as a perspective for social work discipline, and as a theoretical-conceptual frame of a new international doctoral training and research programme in social work taking place in seven European countries. In our qualitative study, we investigate how the participating social work doctoral students reflect upon transdisciplinarity and understand the interconnectivity between environmental, ecological, and social sustainability transitions—which is widely recognised as a highly complex challenge of sustainability. The data used included the students’ learning diaries from the first summer school of this programme. As core findings of the analysis five joint themes expressing the interconnectivity emerged from the data: the indispensable role of nature for all life; the economy-based causes of unsustainability; the role of human rights; the researchers’ own ways of life; and the practice-relevance for SW. Our results support recent theoretical arguments that transdisciplinarity comprises not only a disciplinary thinking but a way of being, where the holistic lives of researchers merge with the content of their work. Regarding our analysis of the pedagogical and didactic arrangements promoting transdisciplinary thinking, we can encourage direct collaboration and teaching inputs with other disciplines and demonstrable practice applications.

Keywordssocial worksustainable developmentsocial sustainabilitydoctoral educationinterdisciplinary researchscientific thoughtpracticelifestyle

Free keywordssocial work; social inclusion; doctoral training; transdisciplinarity; sustainability transitions research

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 19:16